UK Construction Landscape Gets Back To The Growing Ways

The UK’s construction sector has gone on to return to growth after a gap of six consecutive months of decline, as per a closely watched survey.

A boost within civil engineering and also a stabilization within housebuilding helped drive this recovery, found S&P Global.The firm’s purchasing managers index- PMI score, calculated by way of using the survey results, rose to 50.2 in March 2024.

It is well to be noted that the figure is up from 49.7 in February 2024 and happens to be the highest since August 2023.

It is worth noting that any score that happens to be above 50 represents growth in the sector.

The economics director at S&P Global, Tim Moore, opined that the near-term outlook for the industry looks growingly favorable as order books went on to improve yet again in March 2024.

He went on to add that the construction companies generally commented pertaining to a broad-based rebound within the tender opportunities, aided due to easing of borrowing costs and signs that the UK economic conditions have begun to recover in the first quarter of 2024.

But he also said that the hiring remained quite a weak spot, with ongoing concerns pertaining to margin pressures as well as continued risk aversion across the major clients.

Construction firms often went on to report delays in replacing in terms of the departing staff, which in turn led to a depletion in total employment numbers for the third month in a row.

S&P Global remarked that the survey found that supply chain pressures had also gone on to ease.

Earlier, a similar survey of the UK’s manufacturing industry went on to conclude that it had returned to growth for the first time in the last 20 months, amidst the signs that the economy is gradually witnessing a recovery from the effect of high inflation in 2023.

All this comes after the Competition and Markets Authority- CMA warned that the UK has witnessed a constant underdelivery when it comes to new homes.

The regulator, which went ahead and launched an investigation into eight major housebuilders in early 2024, said that the gap between what private developers are building and what people actually require has been widening.

Commenting on the April 5, 2024 PMI figures, Capital Economics’ Matthew Pointon said the falling interest rates should lead to quite a gradual rise in construction activity in 2025.

He added that the slight growth in the housing activity balance, from a 49.8 score in February 2024 to 49.9 a month later, took it to its highest level ever since November 2022 and hence implies housing construction is now seeing stability.

Pointon thinks that this reflects the drag of tighter building regulations, which were introduced in June 2023, sort of fading away and a recovery in demand as mortgage rates have eased-off.

He further says that while rates have gone on to edge up more recently, which is indeed going to temper the recovery in construction, National House Building Council- NHBC data show that the beginnings happen to be now recovering from lows that have reached in the second half of 2023.